The Ed Tech Startup Space

I think I had expected the startups to be diverse, but I couldn’t really have anticipated how diverse (which I suppose is the point). It’s exciting that there is so much out there are so many people that are passionate about improving education in different ways. I’m looking forward to exploring them more as I go through the course and discovering additional things that will inform and enhance what I’m working on. 

Class Dojo is so cool! My idea is geared towards self-directed learning and older students, but I am teaching 3-4 year olds in my church right now and I have learned first hand  how hard it is to keep kids engaged, and to communicate to the parents what is going on. Part of me wants to tell the parents how crazy their kid is when they are picked up, but it’d probably be less awkward just to send them an email. 

I am really excited about Coursera, I think that people want to be informed and skillful and sometimes just like the means to learn. Though I must confess I could really benefit from some of these courses but have yet to sign up – motivation is an issue. Certification is an issue too, but one that I think might be overcome with time. If you can produce things that demonstrate your skills, some people, if not all, will accept them. Part of my idea is helping students find what interests them and how they can accomplish it. Some students won’t have the means or the time to attend a full time university, but I think it’s great that they can gain skills anyway. Degreed seems similar. Right now we’re focused on minority populations that don’t always know how or have access to work inside of the normal structure. This offers them the opportunity to get credit for their work even if it is sometimes unorthodox. 

Dreambox looked especially interesting because one of the businesses I’m working with is called Dream Navigator. It’s a completely different topic, but also utilizes adaptive learning which I think is great. As important as it is to be able to work inside of the system a lot of the time, most innovation comes when people are empowered to work in the way that makes the most sense for them. 

Wow! I think Goalbook could be really useful for what we’re doing as well. A big part of the project is helping people to make goals and identify individuals that will be able to help them achieve them. This looks like a great way to track those goals and keep everybody updated with what is going on. 

I’m not sure if Knewton really affects what we’re doing right now, but it does look very exciting. I’ve been seeing a lot lately about the creepy ways that websites track visitors and am being constantly stalked by tailored ads. This seems to be putting that technology to good use. 

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